Social vs. Collaborative Networking – Distinctions Revealed

When you think of social networking you immediately think of Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, so what comes to mind when you think of collaborative networking?

If you are like most people I have asked this question your response was probably something like ‘aren’t they the same thing?’, and of course the answer would be no, they are not and the primary distinction between them is in the value that is created from each.

Social networks are characterized by one to one connection versus a collective gathering virtually in one space to work on a single project or problem as is the case with collaborative networks.  With the instance of the popular social networking site Facebook for example the value created is to the individual and the benefit of his/her connections.  On the other hand a collaborative network such as MindTouch allows groups of people to collaborate efficiently and effectively to produce results that add value to the enterprise or collective as a whole rather than the individual.

That isn’t to say that social networks can’t benefit your business but rather that they will do so through one to many advertising and one to one contacts rather than through collective decision making and problem solving.

So keep in mind when/if you are considering integrating a networking application into your business enterprise:  If you are looking for people (potential sales leads, recipients of advertising, potential future colleagues) go for a Social Network.  If you want to connect the disparate groups (departments, divisions etc) to collaborate to address issues and projects with tangible results go with a Collaborative Network.

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About John

“John Abele is a pioneer and leader in the field of less-invasive medicine, For more than four decades, John has devoted himself to innovation in health care, business and solving social problems.” He is retired Founding Chairman of Boston Scientific Corporation. John holds numerous patents and has published and lectured extensively on the technology of various medical devices and on the technical, social, economic, and political trends and issues affecting healthcare. His major interests are science literacy for children, education, and the process by which new technology is invented, developed, and introduced to society. Current activities include Chair of the FIRST Foundation which works with high school kids to make being science-literate cool and fun, and development of The Kingbridge Centre and Institute, a conferencing institution whose mission is to research, develop, and teach improved methods for interactive conferencing: problem solving, conflict resolution, strategic planning, new methods for learning and generally help groups to become “Collectively intelligent.” He lives with his wife and two dogs in Shelburne, Vermont.”

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  1. Pingback: Hundreds of Heads are Better than One : Kingbridge Collaboration Blog

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